NASA has conducted the second to last splashdown test for its Orion spacecraft as the agency prepares to eventually send humans to Mars. Scientists at NASA's Langley facility on Thursday used a pendulum and explosives to fling a test capsule into a pool of water at about 25 mph. The 11-foot craft disappeared behind a bowl-shaped splash before bouncing buoyantly against safety netting. More than 500 instruments gauged aspects of the impact, including the level of strain on the carbon fiber heatshield and aluminum cabin. Crash test dummies were also inside to measure safety designs. Orion sailed through its first unmanned test flight in 2014, splashing down in the Pacific Ocean. Another unmanned
A SpaceX Dragon capsule returned to Earth on Friday with scientific gifts from the International Space Station. NASA astronaut Kate Rubins waved goodbye as the Dragon slowly flew away Friday morning. Six hours later, the spacecraft parachuted into the Pacific, just off Mexico's Baja California coast. It's loaded with 3,000 pounds of research and equipment, including 12 mice that flew up on the Dragon as part of a genetic study. "Good splashdown of Dragon confirmed," SpaceX reported via Twitter. Rubins and Japanese astronaut Takuya Onishi used the big robot arm to release the capsule. Mission Control thanked the astronauts for their effort, then added, "To the Dragon recovery team, fair winds
Indonesian authorities have seized more than 650 critically endangered pangolins found hidden in freezers and arrested a man for allegedly breaking wildlife protection laws, police said Friday. Police discovered the pangolins, known as "scaly anteaters", when they raided a house in Jombang district on the main island of Java after local residents became suspicious about the large number of freezers in the property. A total of 657 pangolins, which are consumed as a luxury dish in China and used in traditional medicine, were found wrapped in plastic and stored in five large freezers, East Java province police spokesman Raden Prabowo Argo Yuwono told AFP.
Two big earthquakes struck Europe and Asia on the same day this week, killing hundreds and razing entire towns to the ground. Rescuers in central Italy are continuing to search for survivors trapped in the rubble of collapsed buildings, after a 6.2 magnitude earthquake struck the Umbria region of the country in the early hours of Wednesday morning. The death toll has surpassed 240, officials have confirmed, with many more people missing. Hours later, a 6.8 magnitude earthquake hit central Myanmar, damaging historic buildings in the city of Bagan and killing at least one person. Both countries, Myanmar in particular, are prone to quakes as they are located on major fault lines. Although we know
It was a time of conquest and conversions. Over 250 years, from the 11th century onwards, the rulers of Bagan built more than 10,000 magnificent religious monuments. The stupas, temples and monasteries became the defining emblems of Bagan, the capital of the Pagan (pronounced PUH'-gahn) empire that ruled Myanmar from roughly 1044 to 1287.
In a study aimed at measuring altruism, researchers "lost" a total of 7,466 letters in 2001 and 2011 in 63 urban areas in the United States and Canada. That changed in 2011, however, when the United States had a 10 percent drop in helping behavior, which did not occur in Canada, suggesting that people in the United States were less altruistic than before, said study researcher Keith Hampton, a professor of media and information at Michigan State University. The project began after Hampton heard an anecdote that altruism was declining in Canada.
A baby in Brazil who became infected with Zika in the womb still had the virus in his body for months after he was born, according to a new report of the case. The baby's mother, who lived in São Paulo, showed symptoms of Zika when she was 26 weeks pregnant, according to the report, published today (Aug. 24) in the New England Journal of Medicine. When the baby was born, he was diagnosed with microcephaly, or an abnormally small head and brain.
Monsanto Co has withdrawn an application seeking approval for its next generation of genetically modified cotton seeds in India, a major escalation in a long-running dispute between New Delhi and the world's biggest seed maker. A letter sent by Monsanto's local partner in India, the conglomerate's biggest market outside the Americas, strongly objects to a government proposal that would force Monsanto to share its technology with local seed companies.
American biohacker Amal Graafstra, 40, decided in 2005 that he wanted to be done with such archaic technology "from like 700 BC." He looked at iris scanning and fingerprint reading as solutions for opening his office door, but decided those options were expensive and unreliable. Attitudes are changing as people become more familiar with the idea of implants.
A deep-Earth tremor detected by Japanese earthquake trackers for the first time was traced to a distant and powerful "weather bomb" in the Atlantic. Their findings, published in the journal Science, could help experts learn more about the Earth's inner structure and improve detection of earthquakes and oceanic storms, reported Agence France-Presse. The storm in the North Atlantic, which struck between Greenland and Iceland, was small but potent and gained punch as pressure quickly mounted. Groups of waves sloshed and pounded the ocean floor during the storm, Using seismic equipment on land and on the seafloor that usually detects the Earth's crust crumbling during earthquakes, researchers found
To celebrate the centennial of the U.S National Park Service, Expedition 48 Commander Jeff Williams of NASA has taken hundreds of images of national parks from his vantage point in low Earth orbit, aboard the International Space Station. Here, a series of Williams' photographs are assembled into this composite image of the Grand Canyon.
New 3D printing technology unveiled this week sharply increases the size of objects that can be produced, offering new possibilities to remake manufacturing in the auto, aerospace and other major industries. One application demonstrated by 3D printing machinery maker Stratasys would allow airlines to pick made-to-order airplane interiors that could be tweaked with the click of a mouse. "We're now talking about parts in feet and meters versus centimeters and inches," said Rich Garrity, Americas president for Stratasys.
Six Indonesian provinces have declared states of emergency as forest fires blanketed a swath of Southeast Asia in a smoky haze. Singapore's air quality deteriorated to unhealthy levels on Friday as winds blew smoke from fires on Sumatra, where millions of people are already affected by haze, across the city-state and into southern Malaysia. The number of hotspots detected in Sumatra and Borneo by weather satellites has increased in the past month though they are below levels last year when massive fires in Indonesia caused a regional crisis.
Blame it on output declines in almost all clusters. Singapore’s total manufacturing performance in July 2016 slipped 3.6% largely due to falloffs in almost all of industrial clusters. On a seasonally adjusted month-on-month basis, output went down 4.
Tech Take: Kingii founder Tom Agapiades on how he set out to create a new flotation device that provided more comfort than traditional life vests and inflatables
An exploration of a World War II battleground right off U.S. shores is now underway. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is working with several nonprofit and private partners to explore the twin wrecks of the freighter SS Bluefieldsand the German U-boat U-576. The German submarine attacked and sank the Bluefields on July 15, 1942, and was then itself sunk by bombs from U.S. Navy air cover and the deck gun of another merchant ship in the convoy, the Unicoi.
Argentine soy farmers fear they will get shortchanged under a proposal they say would favor U.S. agricultural company Monsanto Co by forcing them to pay royalties on seeds grown on their own farms using the company's genetically modified technology. Farmers in Argentina's Pampas grains belt say they should have to pay only once, or maybe twice, for seeds containing Monsanto's Intacta RR2 PRO technology. Monsanto says to plant seeds grown with that technology without paying royalties - something that the current law allows - amounts to copyright infringement.
A Filipino fisherman in western Palawan island has found possibly the world's biggest pearl, but he didn't know it. The fisherman's family would rub it with their hands before going out to sea in the belief it would bring them luck, said relative Aileen Amurao. Amurao, who is also Puerto Princesa city's tourism officer, said Thursday that the man gave her the pearl last month for safekeeping because he was moving to a new place.
The research showed that counties in the U.S. with more men than women generally had higher rates of marriage, fewer births outside marriage and fewer single female heads of household — all of which are generally signs of greater family stability, according to the researchers. "There's this numerical expectation that, as men increase in numbers, that means that there are fewer women available, so men are less likely to get married," said Ryan Schacht, the study's lead author and a postdoctoral researcher in anthropology at the University of Utah. In the study, the researchers looked at U.S. Census data from 2,800 counties in all 50 states, focusing on the relationship between each county's gender ratio (the number of men relative to women) and certain markers of family stability that researchers commonly use in research like this, such as marriage rates and the percentage of households with children who were headed by single women.
It's 10 a.m. Do you know where your coffee is? If you're one of the many people who start their day with a cup of joe steaming by their side, you might be able to blame genetics for your addiction. According to a new study published in the journal Scientific Reports, a gene known as PDSS2 "has been shown to negatively regulate the expression of the caffeine metabolism genes and can thus be linked to coffee consumption." In layman's terms? Certain genes play a part in breaking down caffeine in the body, and a certain variant of the PDSS2 gene was found to apparently slow the metabolism of caffeine. That means that for those people, the caffeine "lingers in the blood for longer and gives people
A tiny "kitten-sized" marsupial lion that roamed Australia's ancient rainforests some 18 million years ago has been named after veteran British naturalist David Attenborough. The fossil remains of the "microleo attenboroughi" were found in the Riversleigh World Heritage Area -- believed to be one of the most significant fossil deposits in the world -- in remote north-western Queensland state some years ago by palaeontologists from Sydney's University of New South Wales. "It's around about the size of a grey squirrel... maybe a little bit bigger than kitten-sized," UNSW palaeontologist Anna Gillespie told AFP on Friday, adding that the new species was estimated to weigh about 600 grams (21.2 ounces) and was smaller than other members of an extinct marsupial lion family.
Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument will now span 582,578 square miles near the Northern Hawaiian Islands, the Obama administration announced on Friday. The administration was able to expand the monument, which President George W. Bush first designated in 2006, using Obama's executive authority under the 1906 Antiquities Act. The islands, described as "America's Galapagos," encompass the most intact tropical marine region under U.S. control.
In a Feb. 20, 2015 story about an antibiotic-resistant "superbug" outbreak at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, The Associated Press mischaracterized a statement an expert made about proving the cause of an infection. Lawrence Muscarella, a health care and sterilization expert, said he was suggesting an argument hospitals might use when he said, "Proving causation is impossible." Muscarella said an infection can be proven to come from a hospital instrument.
To be safe, you might want to have a spotter with you before you cover your eyes with the goggles and make the leap into virtual space. According to psychology professor Jim Blascovich, co-author of “Infinite Reality: The Hidden Blueprint of Our Virtual Lives” (William Morrow Paperbacks, 2012), it may be powerful enough to distract even young burn victims and significantly reduce their pain.
The researchers say soft robots can adapt more easily to some environments than rigid machines, and this research could lead to autonomous robots that can sense their surroundings and interact with people. As the fuel gives off oxygen, pressure from the gas builds up in the controller and eventually causes some valves to open and others to close, inflating chambers in half the robot's arms and forcing them to move.